Two incredible new campaigns are being launched today to address queer women’s sexual health and wellbeing. Both campaigns are unique in that they will finally address the invisible subject of women’s sexual health.
The first programme sees the launch of a new information booklet and online information portal, spearheaded by the Sexual Health Centre, LINC (Advocating for Lesbian and Bisexual Women), and the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP).
The ‘Sexual Wellbeing and Intimate Relationships for Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’ booklet, addresses a range of topics in relation to Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) women’s relationships and sexual activity. It is the first of its kind in Ireland, breaching the historical invisibility of LBQ relationships and sexual lives.
Today we are launching the groundbreaking new resource ‘Sexual Wellbeing & Intimate Relationships for Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’. This resource was developed by the Sexual Health Centre, @linc & the HSE SHCPP @_respectprotect. #LBQwomen #LBQwomenIE pic.twitter.com/7QiZ63X2rv
— Sexual Health Centre (@SHC_Cork) February 14, 2022
Ciara Mulcahy, Community Health Worker at LINC, highlighted the often narrow representation of the LBQ population in Ireland. “Lesbian, bisexual and queer women deserve to be supported and represented in their varied forms, abilities, shapes and sizes. Until LBQ diversity is acknowledged and welcomed – both inside and outside of our own community – we will continue to face stigma when it comes to our relationships, our pleasure and our health.
“This resource will hopefully contribute to the ongoing efforts of LINC, our LGBT partner organisations and of our statutory and non-statutory sexual health partners, to make LBQ relationships more visible and to promote LBQ sexual health and well-being.”
Catherine Kennedy, Centre Manager at the Sexual Health Centre said, “We are delighted to have led LINC and the HSE SHCPP working group in the development of this new resource. The idea for the resource originated from the two Cork-based organisations; partnering with the HSE SHCPP has enabled us to produce a nationally-relevant booklet which deals with some of the issues that can come up in LBQ intimate relationships. It will be a useful and empowering source of guidance for LBQ women.”
Although the resource is primarily focused on lesbian, bisexual and queer women, its authors believe it will also be of interest to Trans and non-binary people who don’t necessarily identify as LBQ.
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In tandem with the ‘Sexual Wellbeing and Intimate Relationships for Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’ booklet, Dublin Pride are launching a vital new campaign also addressing the sexual health and wellbeing of queer women. They have teamed up with Gay Health Network (GHN), LINC, Dublin Lesbian Line and GCN to support the campaign.
As the campaign reports, “within the LGBTQ+ community, sexual health and wellbeing have predominantly centred around MSM (men who have sex with men). The needs of queer women have largely been neglected and educational and sexual health resources in this area are scarce.”
It aims to address this sexual health gap by increasing awareness and providing educational and practical tools to promote the overall wellbeing of our community. Along with promoting the ‘Sexual Wellbeing and Intimate Relationships for Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’ booklet, the key actions of the campaign include the distribution of 2,000 dental dams by the end of 2023 which have been funded by the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP) via GHN.
According to Campaign Coordinator Christelle Gebhardt, “It’s become clear to us that there is a general disregard within our community when it comes to the sexual health of queer women compared to MSM. It’s not talked about as much as it needs to be talked about, and we’re hoping to change that with this campaign”.
Like the booklet, the campaign will primarily target queer women but it also aims to be inclusive of intersex people, Trans people, non-binary people and queer men who have sex with women.
To booklet can be downloaded online here.
Printed copies of the resource can be ordered through the Sexual Health Centre (021-4276676) and LINC (021-4808600).
If you are an LGBTQ+ community organisation and would like to receive dental dams to distribute at your events, get in touch at [email protected].
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